“Let’s paint our house,” are some of the worst four words a wife could utter to her husband. I know because I live in a half-painted house.
My husband and I decided to paint the interior walls of our house last December. Truth be told, our house was being featured in a national commercial for T.J. Maxx (long story) and we knew that the Maxxinistas wouldn’t be interested in our spider web ceilings and crumb-filled couches. So, we spent an entire weekend cleaning the house and bringing out our unused cutting boards, fine linens, and all the other wedding gifts that we’d been saving for a special occasion.
Even after all of our spiffing up, our house was still average-looking. And the reason it was so bland was because the interior walls were beige. I hate beige. And for years, I’d been promising myself that I would paint my beige walls some fabulous shades of color that you see in Charleston mansions. But, of course, I never lifted a paintbrush. It took T.J. Maxx to put a little fire under my bum.
So, my husband and I committed to the challenge. We spent hours fighting over swatches and buying paint gear. I liked pale pinks, he liked deep blues. Finally, we compromised on a green ivy for our downstairs guestroom, a grayish-blue for our kitchen, and a blush palette for our bathroom. (With names like “Heiress,” “Perfumed Days,” and “Riding Violet,” the paint companies convinced us that our home would be transformed into an 18th century English manor.) With some help from family and some regular quarrels over paint splatters, we finished our downstairs in a matter of weeknights. Yet, we were exhausted. While our first strokes on the wall were fun, our last strokes on the window trim were brutal. When T.J. Maxx confirmed that they would only film on the first floor, we took a break from painting and figured we’d start the second floor after the holidays.
It is now July, and our entire upstairs is…beige.. Our master bedroom, our master bathroom, the hallway and the nursery hasn’t been touched. It’s beige, beige, beige from one wall to another.
With a baby on the way, we’re in a bit of a conundrum since I’m not supposed to be breathing in paint fumes.Since I can’t paint, I nag my husband. Since I can’t help him, he gets frustrated. (Plus, I have a laundry list of more pressing chores for him, i.e. putting together the crib.) Between us, we can find a million reasons not to paint. But every time, I step over the dusty paint cans in the nursery, I’m reminded of our unfinished project.
Friends have shared their own similar experiences. Well-meaning newlyweds starting a paint job on their apartment. Retirees finally changing the color of that old bathroom. All of the stories end the same: it was a good idea at the time. Then, the paint started hitting the fan.
It took me a while to admit that we would never finish the second floor. (I’m typically not a quitter, particularly when it comes to home improvement.) But, this past week, I finally hired someone to finish the job. While we once scoffed at paint estimate prices, I’ve learned the value of paying for help to keep my sanity.
Someday soon, our master bedroom will be “Kensington Purple.” And since I’m never taking on a painting project again, we’ll force ourselves to like the color. No matter what it looks like on the wall, it will be better than beige.